El-Husseini: Referendum is constitutional, represents utmost democracy

Translator: Cynthia P. FEGHALI

“One cannot wait for a house burglar,” says former Speaker of the Lebanese Parliament Hussein El-Husseini, raising the Constitution’s book in the face of a dominant political class going against this Constitution:
“They have become like burglars of houses. Whatever people do, they rob them. It is not possible that things remain the same. We now have a President for the Lebanese Republic who is relying on a sweeping popular public opinion that is requesting to approve a new electoral law based on the proportional system.
Each one of them is rejecting a proportional law because they want to keep dominating their own community or region, and thus divide the country.”

The President of the Republic is right with holding on to a proportional electoral law, and he has the right not to sign the decree calling for electoral commissions, and he has the duty of halting all measures related to the sixties’ law, according to Mr. El-Husseini:
“This is an implementation of the Constitution, as the constitutional provision requires the proportional system, because it represents more than 80% of voters. Whereas, the majoritarian system has 60% maximum limit of voters.”

If the Parliament reached a vacuum, the President could resort to the people who are the source of power and having a referendum is constitutional, from El-Husseini’s point of view:
“- Is the President allowed to resort to a referendum? What is the legal procedure?
– Nothing prevents proceeding with a referendum, (though it can be legislated through a simple legal provision), however, the Constitution did not stipulate having referendums, but it did not stipulate NOT having them. The referendum represents utmost democracy.”

“- What do you think about the draft laws that are being discussed today, such as the mixed law introduced by the Lebanese Forces and Free Patriotic Movement?
– Unconstitutional.

– Mikati’s government draft law?
– The only one compliant to the Constitution and Taif Agreement.

– Qualification to districts and elections according to the proportional system in provinces?
– With a different qualification than the one it was introduced with Patriarch Sfeir before Taif Agreement, and it was one of the reasons behind this Agreement, stating that the candidate who acquires 10% of voters in his district would be qualified to candidature in the province.

– The sixties’ law?
– It is constitutionally invalid.”

Regarding the Minister of Interior’s call for electoral commissions, Mr. El-Husseini thinks that it is not of his powers in the first place given that it is a procedural work. Since the decree is ordinary, it has no deadlines, and the President has discretionary power of presenting it to Cabinet.